Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Teamsters End Strike against International Environmental

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Teamsters End Strike against International Environmental

Article excerpt

Union workers at the International Environmental Corp. plant in Oklahoma City voted Tuesday morning to return to work today following a one-day strike by about 220 of the plant's 260 Teamsters-affiliated employees, according to John Doern, the union's business agent.

The workers voted by a 3-1 margin in deciding to go back to work, Doern said.

"Basically, there have been some conversations with the company and (the workers) voted to go ahead and accept the package that the company offered," Doern said.

That package, described as the "last, best and final offer" by International Environmental President Barry Golsen, consisted of a new three-year contract providing for no wage increases during the first year, a 10-cent per hour raise the second year, and a 15-cent per hour raise during the third year.

The pact also called for increased insurance benefits to go into effect immediately upon ratification of the contract.

Doern said he could not pinpoint the reason the workers changed their minds in deciding to go back to work after going out on strike Monday.

However, the union's bargining agent, Leo Snow, said a language barrier may have played an important role in the dispute.

According to Snow, about 35 percent of the 260 union workers the company employs are Vietnamese. An interpreter, therefore, was brought in to surmount the language barrier, he said.

"The biggest problem was the lack of understanding of the total issues by the Vietnamese workers. We did some work on that today and obviously, we were able to get it approved," Snow said.

The company's assurance that no union jobs would be lost was another factor involved in settling the strike, he added.

The language barrier was a problem, agreed Golsen.

"On a day-to-day basis the language barrier isn't a problem, but to explain the nuances of a contract in a document that's 20 or 30 pages thick, that's a little more difficult," he said.

"We came to an agreement and they've accepted our offer and we're in a position to offer them all employment," said Golsen. …

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